Forums

Longsword FencingThread is locked

Quick find code: 237-238-617-65352706

of 10
heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The longsword is an exceedingly useful weapon in roleplay, a personal favorite, and has a huge amount of possibilities. To help the community enjoy this weapon to the fullest -and further fulfill my belief that I should share what I know- I've decided to write this guide.

For the flow chart, I've described each technique or stance with the minimal amount of detail, so what you see is only the crucial elements that need to be present. I leave adding other details to you. (I give you food, and you decide what condiments to add on.)

It is assumed that the character you will be using these techniques with is primarily right-handed. The choice to have the cuts be at 35° is entirely personal, as I find 35° to be a bit faster than 45° cuts as they get lower (or higher, in the case of uppercuts) sooner due to the incline, but are not too close to 0° or 180° to be called vertical cuts and have the same weaknesses. Also, in all of the flow-chart examples I only use one space after periods instead of two, to save space in the in-game 80 character chatbox.

The alt code for the degree symbol is ALT 0176. That should help save some space in the chatbox when describing attack angles.

1. Staying in Control: The “Hidden” Strikes
-Rage Strike
-Crooked Strike
-Cross Strike
-Squinting Strike

2. Guards: Thinking Ahead
-Ox
-Roof
-Plough
-Fool
-Iron Door and Middle Iron Door
-Woman's Guard
-Long Point
-Short Point
-Two-Horned Guard
-Long Tail
-Boar's Tooth
-Crown

20-Apr-2014 02:39:34 - Last edited on 29-May-2018 03:45:51 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
3. Other Techniques
-Feint/Fault
-Pursuit
-Overrunning
-Offsetting
-Changing Through
-”Twitching”
-Running Through

I. Staying in Control: The “Hidden” Strikes
I first heard this advice from Rai: if you want to win a fight, be in control of the situation. In the Dark Ages, Liechtenauer gives similar advice: make the first attack to establish control, and then continue the offensive so that the opponent can only defend. Being in control means forcing your adversary to be constantly on the defensive.

An example of this can be seen when in my eighth month of roleplay (Spring 2012), I was a Servus in the Sicarius. My character was failing to dress in the Sicarius style, and was sentenced to face Michael Sicarius in a duel to the death. Being complacent, I gave little thought to the importance of keeping control in a fight and soon found myself having one less character as I couldn't even think of an effective counter for a towershield bash, and had given no thoughts to how to realistically fight a character with an immense amount of physical strength. I had no control in the fight, and embarrassed myself through then demonstrating horrible roleplay ability in a situation I had no idea what to do. Throughout the whole fight, it was simply failing to take a hit against one attack after another, until a logically unavoidable death arrived.

In the Dark Ages, certain strikes were used by followers of the famous ''Liechtenauer Tradition'' to force the contestant back onto the defensive if he managed to make an attack. They were known as the ''hidden strikes'' simply for them being simple, everyday cuts used in a more effective way. People saw them used, but could never figure out how they worked, so they were ‘’hidden’’. Other translations render the word ‘’hidden’’ as ‘’master’’ to reflect how useful they were.

20-Apr-2014 02:39:45 - Last edited on 26-Apr-2014 16:34:04 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Keep in mind while reading is that these attacks are done just as the opposing character is attacking. (“just as” comes from translations of the word “Indes”, which also can be interpreted as “simultaneously”, “in the moment of”, “while”, etc. You get the idea, the word conveys that you and the opponent do something at the same time.) Not doing so gives too many ways for the attack to turn into your loss of control.

Disclaimer: I do not have all of the information on these strikes here, as I do not understand every part of these and even scholars who try reenacting with live weapons do not entirely understand them. As more is determined, I will add more information.

Rage Strike
A descending, right-to-left diagonal strike. Do this just as the contestant makes a diagonal strike from the right side. Make sure that throughout the entire strike, your point is aimed at the adversary's head, chest, or wherever you want to stab through. Use your strong to displace him/her at the weak, and keeping blade contact, thrust along his/her blade into where you want to hit. By keeping blade contact, they cannot make a sudden strike at you.

*Enemy makes a right-to-left downward diagonal cut from above the shoulder at Sicarius.*
*Point aimed at Enemy's head, Sicarius made a 35° right-to-left cut /just as/--
--Enemy made his strike, using the strong to hit Enemy's weak and push the--
--sword down. Keeping blade contact, Sicarius thrust along Enemy's sword to--
--try stabbing /through/ the face.*
("just as" is emphasized as from my experience, the roleplayer whose character is receiving this attack will "accidentally" not notice this detail in order to try pulling off a counter that wouldn't work otherwise. Placing this in "/ ... /" seems to help eliminate that problem.)

20-Apr-2014 02:39:54 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 02:56:07 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
If the opposing character has a lot of physical strength, he/she can use all that to force your thrust up, above the head. If this happens, pull your sword up with the displacement, keeping the sword close to his/her sword but no longer keeping contact. Make a cut to the head, along his/her sword, so that as it goes up your blade goes down in the opposite direction to fracture the skull. (The hilt is going up with the opponent's sword, so if he/she tries making an attack you can parry the attack.)

*Enemy uses all his strength to displace Sicarius' thrust upward, above the head.*
*Sicarius pulls his sword up with Enemy's sword, keeping his close but no--
--longer keeping contact. Instead Sicarius winds his blade down to strike--
--Enemy's head, parallel to Enemy's sword; while his hilt and Enemy's sword,--
--blade and all, are still rising up.*

If the contestant manages to somehow make a parry, you'll be in a high bind, probably at the strong. I will discuss all the fun you can have from there later.

Now, let's say that the rage strike didn't go as planned, and your strike is displaced. The adversary's strong is at your weak as well. Resisting with all your might, slide your strong to the opponent's weak, and bring the hilt in front of your head while keeping blade contact. Then stab into the face/chest etc. from above. If the hilt doesn't guard the head, defending against an attack from the opponent may prove difficult.

*Enemy displaces Sicarius' strike, his strong pressing against Sicarius' weak.*
*Before Enemy can force the blades down, Sicarius presses with all his might--
--while sliding his strong to Enemy's weak. Pressing Enemy's sword down,--
--Sicarius winds his hilt to cover the face while making a thrust at Enemy's--
--face from above.*

If the contestant tries to counter this by lifting up his/her arms and hilt to try pushing the thrust out of the way, angle the point down, striking between the arms and the chest.

20-Apr-2014 02:39:59 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 02:56:53 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
*Lifting up his arms and hilt, Enemy displaces Sicarius' thrust above him.*
*Sicarius winds his point down, his sword now between Enemy's arms--
--and chest, and from there tries to stab through the exposed right ribcage--
--into the lung.*

Twisted Strike
The twisted strike is a right-to-left downward diagonal strike like the rage strike, but with the arms crossed, usually at the wrists. Depending on what kind of armor is present there, the arms may accidentally snag on each other, and create an opening. (Don't use this if there are possible obstructions on the wrists.) When the opponent makes an uppercut or a downward diagonal cut from his/her right side, step out of the strike with your right foot to his/her left side, hands crossed, hitting the hands using the point. Your point should move over the crossguard of your adversary's sword when hitting the hands.

*Enemy makes a diagonal right-to-left uppercut at Sicarius.*
*Sicarius makes an explosive step with the right foot to Enemy's left side,--
--out of the cut's path, making a 35° right-to-left cut /just as/ Enemy made--
--his strike, hands crossed; parrying Enemy's sword with the flat while trying--
--to slide the point over the guard and skewer the hands.*

If the other roleplayer tries making a counter of having his/her character use the point in the same way to for mutual injury, point out that your strike would chronologically hit first and prevent such a move. Diagonal uppercut or downward diagonal cut, the path of the opposing character's sword won't bring the point to the path for doing this in spite of blocking the sword along the flat. If you're being smart and wearing some sort of protection for the hands, you won't have to worry about this anyway as the point of the sword would most likely glance off.

20-Apr-2014 02:40:05 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 02:57:31 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Now, what do we do if someone uses the crooked strike against us? Let's say you make any downward cut from above the shoulder, and the other roleplayer displaces this with the crooked strike. Press your sword with all the strength available to your character, thrust into the opposing character's chest.

*Enemy displaces Sicarius' downward attack with the crooked strike, a high cut.*
*Pressing against Enemy's sword with all his might, Sicarius extends his arms--
--to try thrusting Enemy through the upper chest, letting Enemy's point slide--
--/over/ Sicarius' hands due to the new angle of the swords.*

Cross Strike
One of my favorites, this is described as countering any downward strike made from above the shoulders and striking to the head or neck; a high horizontal cut. Since any downward strike not made from that height won't have much distance to cover (and thus less time to build momentum), it'll be fairly weak and liable against other techniques. The cross strike works like this: as the attack is made, make a large, explosive step to the side you want to strike with the nearest foot. While making this step, move the hilt to protect where the opposing character is going to strike -thumb down on the flat of the blade for support- and make a horizontal cut at the head, neck, shoulders, etc. So you catch the strike with the hilt while hitting the opponent simultaneously. I feel this technique visibly conveys the skill behind the “hidden strikes” the most out of all of them.

*Enemy makes a downward strike at Sicarius' head.*
*/Just as/ Enemy made his cut, Sicarius made a large, explosive step to--
--Enemy's left, winding his hilt to catch the strike before the head, and--
--thumb down on the flat of the blade- made a horizontal cut to try breaking--
--Enemy's neck. So Sicarius would parry the sword at the hilt and hit Enemy's--
--neck at the same time.*

20-Apr-2014 02:40:13 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 02:58:07 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
If you want to fight from the strong with a cross strike, then make sure to hit the other sword at the strong with the strong. Keep blade contact, and wind the point behind the opponent's sword to strike the head, hands crossed. The contestant cannot do the same thing to attack as his/her point would have to be winded down, thus raising his/her guard and letting us have an easy hit to the arms or somewhere else.

*Enemy makes a downward strike at Sicarius' head.*
*/Just as/ Enemy made his cut, Sicarius made a large, explosive step to--
--Enemy's left, making a horizontal parry with the strong to Enemy's strong. Keeping blade contact, Sicarius winds his point, hands crossed, to try horizontally cleaving Enemy's head.*

Now, a defense against a cross strike: when you make a downward strike from your right and the other roleplayer makes a cross strike (or any high horizontal cut) to your left, change your strike to a cross strike under his/her sword to the neck. The hilt and angles of each sword protects your character.

*Sicarius makes a 35° right-to-left downward cut at Enemy.*
*Just as Sicarius makes his strike, Enemy makes a cross strike to Sicarius' left side.*
*Before Sicarius' blade hits Enemy's hilt, Sicarius makes a rounded sidestep--
--with the right foot, changing his own strike into a horizontal strike with--
--the blade angled just below Enemy's sword to hit try hitting his neck, while--
--parrying the cut along the hilt and strong.*

20-Apr-2014 02:40:20 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 03:00:42 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Squinting Strike
The squinting strike can be a vertical or diagonal downward strike meant to “break” the attacks made by fencers who rely on brute strength or excessive momentum. If an attack is made from his/her right side, then strike with extended arms at the weak of the sword while making sure to hit the right shoulder. So you displace the strike by hitting the weak, but with the arms stretched out to now hit the exposed right shoulder. If the opponent somehow had the right shoulder be in the back, then the attack arguably lacks any force that demands this sort of technique, and won't reach far enough to prevent simple backstep out of the sword's reach while delivering an attack of your own.

*Enemy, using his sheer strength, makes a full right-to-left horizontal cut at Sicarius.*
*/Just as/ Enemy made his cut, Sicarius made a 35° right-to-left diagonal cut--
--with extended arms, striking Enemy's weak with the strong to force the sword--
--down while Sicarius' weak was meant to reach and break the exposed right--
--shoulder, all in one stroke.*

If the other roleplayer decides to try sliding the sword under yours so his/her point is able to make a thrust, bring your sword down further -skipping the shoulder- and stab him/her through the upper chest. By bringing the sword down further, you make sure he/she can't get a stab in at anything except the legs, and you know to defend against that.

*Enemy winds his point toward Sicarius' abdomen, intending to stab Sicarius there while raising his sword so Sicarius' blow won't land.*
*Sicarius instead let his sword fall before Enemy's right shoulder, and--
--instead try stabbing Enemy through the heart while Sicarius' blade fell--
--further, so Enemy's intended stab couldn't reach Sicarius but fall short--
--as it was forced down.*

20-Apr-2014 02:40:28 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 03:01:12 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
As you can see, the opponent lowers his/her hilt by trying to make the point available to stab your character, thus completely exposing the chest for a lethal blow. You don't have to strike at the heart, anywhere with something important will work.

Guards: Thinking Ahead
A guard is any position a sword is held in between strikes. Since there are nearly infinite positions, there can be nearly infinite guards. However, not all of these guards are effective. In German longsword fencing, there was considered to only be four guards really worth transitioning to between strikes: Ox, Roof, Plough and Fool. Each guard presets a variety of attacks and counters, and each guard has a strike it is weak against. (So simply staying in a guard is a foolish choice, as the opponent can simply make that strike and leave you in a bad position.) This is undoubtedly better than an undescribed position, which offers no benefits and realistically will only disadvantage the fighter.

Some guards will aim the point at the head or chest of the opponent for an aggressive emphasis, and the ability to make a sudden stab at an opponent. Others will have the point lowered to try baiting the opponent into gathering courage and attacking, or have the fighter appear to be on the verge of a baseball-style swing and instead deliver a different attack entirely. While adding this to your regular fighting habits isn't necessary, it can help for making future attacks be much more effective if you're able to think multiple steps ahead.

This will probably be the simplest section of the entire guide, and the most yawn-inducing. But if you know how to make these small things work, you'll have an advantage. The Ox, Roof, Plough and Fool can all be applied to any weapon, the others are better for using with the two-handed longsword.

20-Apr-2014 02:40:35 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 03:01:45 by heretic hary

heretic hary
Aug Member 2019

heretic hary

Posts: 3,137Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Ox
For the Ox, the left side should be in front, the cross held next to the right side of the head. The point is aimed at the face. When facing an opponent who is in the Ox guard, use a twisted strike. The twisted strike can defeat the majority of attacks made from the Ox.

*Sicarius' left side leading, Sicarius held his sword so that the guard was--
--near the right side of his head while keeping the point aimed at Enemy's--
--face.*

Roof
Also called “From the Roof”, W*kipedia makes the erroneous claim that the correct translation is “from the sky” and that the other version is a mistranslation. The left side is forward, and the sword is held by the right shoulder, held above the head with the point angled back. Great for downward strikes that are meant carry a lot of power, and since the arms are in the rear, you won't need to worry about an opponent somehow getting in an attack as the arms are brought up because you'd be passing back while raising them. In the time he/she could try moving in to try getting in an attack, making an effective counter will not be a problem. To beat most attacks from this guard, use the cross strike.

*Sicarius' left side leading, Sicarius held his sword with the point angled up--
--and angled slightly back, near the right shoulder and higher than Sicarius'--
--head.*

Plough
The previous Ox and Roof are both what could be called “high” guards, Plough (and Fool) are both “low” guards. An argument can be made for Plough actually being a “middle” guard, but that's irrelevant. Just as before, the left side should lead. Hold the pommel at the right hip, and the hilt should cross the waist with the point aimed up to the torso or head. This guard is weak to the squinting strike.

*Sicarius' left leg forward, Sicarius held the pommel at the right hip with--
--the hilt crossing the waist, point aimed at the middle of Enemy's upper--
--chest.*

20-Apr-2014 02:40:41 - Last edited on 20-Apr-2014 03:02:31 by heretic hary

Quick find code: 237-238-617-65352706Back to Top